This I Believe- Society Suppresses Our Empathy

I believe that society through its silent deception, lulls the empathy that we acquire into a permanent slumber. That inclination, that inconceivable urge we have to root ourselves within another’s fear and become the sturdy hand offering a lit passage disperses. Empathy, the one thing that can strikingly determine our identity as human, becomes engulfed within the raging fires society bears down upon humanity. Society is what the majority conceives as the ultimate truth, if one is to object, society pushes you to its recesses. You will be perceived as a troubled castaway is what we all have predetermined. That voice capable of haunting millions, those eyes witnesses of terrors and distress, those ears constantly listening to shattered dreams and aching souls screeching, those thoughts capable of reaching and altering ones perception, becomes muzzled. Hush, we do not need such thoughts here. Society daunts us, buries us beneath its façade of reality, we lose sight of its protruding flaws. That empathy, that glimmer of consideration becomes as quickly vanquished as did it surge forwards. Empathy still lurks, but all too quickly is transferred into sympathy. You now pity, you ache, but not with such fervor. Cruelty becomes a nonchalant occurrence; individuals harassed consequently are forced to shed their dignity, humanity creates the ultimate terror. Turn a blind eye. For you surely do not want to fall victimized under society’s spiteful glare.

The consistent lashes that cause emotional and physical anguish to others are emblazoned on my very person. Yet these pulls that society discreetly casts conforms me into its depths. I have an impulse, the fiercest urge to help, and my eyes burn with tears that I forbid to descend. I look helplessly. I become feeble. The gateway towards using understanding and compassion to cease suffrage, I knowingly close. I am afraid to be that change, that person that associates with oddities we have labeled within the school. But I know these people are not the slightest peculiar. But so special and distinctive one cannot even fathom. God, that look in their eyes, that confusion and frustration of not fitting in. Their pain and turmoil is challenging to conceal. I feel it, yet pretend not to. An emotional war tears me apart. Help. I need to help. But no. I am sitting there. Still sitting here. A false smile. A silent observer.

There was this project in Grade nine students had to partake in. My friend was not here, but we all needed a partner. This one guy was looking around, wandering aimlessly, head down cast, hoping. I came to him. His gaze beheld relief, happy to have found someone. Weakness overcame me. I could feel my classmate’s scorching stares. “She’d stoop this low?” This silent judgment seeped into me yet they were all too busy studying the task given to be attentive. Society causes irrational fears when no one cares to notice. You conjure false accusations. I told him then. My friend was not here, yet I was going to be her partner. I was conflicted, screaming on the inside. His eyes became dull. It was as if he already knew, but was hoping I’d stay. What I felt in that moment haunts me. I conjured pitiful excuses for myself. My actions plagued me. Maybe that’s why when I walk down the halls and say hello his smile never reaches those soulful eyes. He is quick to leave but always does politely. I do not deserve even the shred of a response, it haunts me. I felt inner mayhem and loathed myself. The shame and remorse consumed me. It gradually started becoming less blatant, yet it was a candle blazing that no matter how desperately I tried, would not blow out. A flickering flame. A depressing reminder. We must get over our own fear and weakness of defying the social norms of society, in order to take that surging step forward subsequently triggering compassion. Empathy is one of the saddest fatalities ever committed, our prime reason for devastation, if we do not act upon in it. What virtue is it to sense this emotion and keep it sealed so tight that we are nothing but hollow? Release it, even if society hisses at us to never dare.

That day, when it was his turn to present the project, he was independent and jubilant. I felt tears of happiness, though I had no right. His presentation was fun and quirky. The teacher laughed, the class remained silent. I couldn’t contain myself then, a smile surged forward. I was incredibly ecstatic that he was doing well. In that moment, I looked through the perception society imposes, looked past the clouds that had blown within the fronts of my vision, I rose from the fog, and I realized how wondrous we all are, how special. How much awe we are capable of accomplishing, how many tortured lives we are capable of saving, but society relentlessly seeks to imprison us.

Empathy, I realize I have it, yet societies mental chains refrains this emotion to bring forth revolution. In that moment I knew what I had done was pathetic, I knew how deserted he’d feel, how deceived. I hastily said the words, I tried to console him afterwards, how I could help him if need be. But my words had reached their source. I had instigated the impairment; the comfort I brought forth was adding salt to the wound. Chaotic drums beating attuned to the daunting symphony of anguish constricted my mind. I ignored these feelings. Struggling to subdue them, I recalled I was collaborating with whom I wanted. Right? We are not friends anymore. I fought for the wrong person.

We put trust in each other. To help each other through suffering, yet instead we cause casual cruelty that becomes tormenting. I hope one day when I converse with him he perceives me in a different regard. For now all I can do is learn from this. Society urges you to make the wrong decision, one that ruins your conscience. It causes you to disregard your opinion and thoughts upon what is right; this invisible force burns holes within empathy. It pollutes your soul and you breathe in ragged gasps, yet it slyly convinces you that all is well. You fail your fellow human.

Look around. Towards whom will you lose your status to? What status? I ask myself over and over again, “What status do you have?” You understand that frustrating agony that person is feeling, you recognize because it’s a blade that slashes you as well. You could make it halt. But there’s society urging you to be normal. You leave that person gasping, the terror of your actions consume you. That person. They have no words. They knew, and you knew. No words. You shamefully follow society, relief is instantaneous. Society harnesses that guilt and banishes it until it thinks you have rid it from your thoughts. Yet you are human. You see that individuals face. Their eyes. Those eyes. They seemed familiar. Who is it that you have just disregarded?

This I believe.

Picture Reference:,. ‘Helping Others: It’S NOT All About Me!’. N.p., 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

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10 thoughts on “This I Believe- Society Suppresses Our Empathy

  1. Sadia,

    Alright, if I was going to say one thing, it would be that YOUR WORDS ARE SO “BIG”. I’m pretty sure that I nagged you about this (and so did Ms. Wolinsky), but I found that the more I read, the better your words flowed. Despite being your best friend, I’m honestly am seeing you for the first time. I see a sympathetic soul that just aches at all the injustices of the world. I see an educated mind, bursting with intelligence. I love this blog post. Your writing is so… you, your symbolism, especially with the candle, was beautiful. Your feelings poured into this was amazing. This post honestly shows the Sadia that I know and love.

    You have bore my insecurities. There are times where I feel that I act to harsh and mean to people, but I feel that it’s my obligation for all the injustices that the world has thrown at me. You and I are somewhat the same. We both had faced injustice, but you decide to combat that with kindness. That I applaud you with.

    Keep on writing (but tone down the word complication a little), you are a brilliant writer.

    -With much love,

  2. Dear Sadia,

    That was amazing. No, it was beyond amazing. It seemed to be university level. I am in so much shock at the moment that my fingers are shaking.

    Sadia, what you just wrote about was the most deepest and truest analysis of society I have ever encountered. Your piece held a terrifying beauty. The kind of beauty that I want to understand and experience, but am afraid of coming within arms length of.

    I cannot begin to fathom what you just wrote. WOW. Just…WOW.

    Before reading this blog I believed that society had a huge impact on my clothing, some aspects of my language, my identity, but what I never really related that control to, was the idea of emotion. How society is a poison that seeps into our hearts, slowly blackening our emotions to the degree that we no longer see value in them. We no longer feel as though they are important aspects of humanity that should never be forgotten. This reminded me of past leaders (Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, etc). I feel as though people who make change in the world around us, break the chains that society has forged around them, through the emotion that they refused to let go of in the face of society’s adversity.

    Thank you for allowing me to attain this understanding, Sadia. Such understanding is beyond my capabilities, and for the first time, it is in my reach.

    Your friend,

    1. Dearest Sania,

      Thank you for your gracious response, any insecurities I felt about writing this piece and posting it have significantly diminished. Your words always have the ability to captivate me and your comment is proof of that.

      The insights you mentioned upon society have quite literally made me stop in my tracks, I had to reread what you had written to comprehend the affects your perception imposed. You always manage to present your thoughts in such realism and detail, that once again, I am blown away.

      I am stunned that my writing has caused such an accomplished individual to understand what she had yet to learn. I am truly beyond elated.

      With love,


  3. Dear Sadia,
    I’m Erica from the international school of Panama and I am in Mr. Avelar’s class. I must apologize because i doubt my comment will be as long as those your friends have written. I very much enjoyed your writing, it really spoke the truth about how society functions and you made a very good point. I also like how you put in a personal experience, it really added to it and making me think about my actions. You have put it all into perspective and for that i thank you. When did you realize all of this?

    1. Dear Erica,

      Thank you for your kindhearted words, I am elated that you enjoyed reading my blog! When you mentioned how my personal story caused you to reflect upon your own actions, I was amazed. For I never do believe my writing can accomplish such a thing.

      And as for your question, I feel I’ve always recognized how individual’s are slowly losing their empathy, yet this is not our fault, society is the ultimate betrayer.

      Within a sociology class I attended, we discussed about how mass media portrays varying monstrosities happening within our world, yet we are desensitized to this, we become accustomed to murders and the acts that terrorist groups exemplified through ISIS commit. We feel sorry, sympathetic even, but never do we empathize. Now this is on a much larger scale, and truth be told- it is difficult to associate to what we cannot comprehend, but it is crucial to attempt to understand.

      However, this made me consider, why is it so difficult for individuals to even try? That is when you have to acknowledge your own actions within your everyday life. Where are these particular moments in which you disconnect yourself from empathy? And is this disconnection willingly initiated, or indirectly forced upon us through society’s daunting “rules”?

      I feel I have always acknowledged such a thing, but only recently have I used this as an internal self-reflection.

      With much gratitude,


  4. Dear Sadia,

    I’m rather arrogant, I must admit. I came here thinking I was a worthy author, expecting mediocrity rather than a masterpiece.

    I left believing that I am nothing more than a simple amateur.

    I was blown away completely at how masterful you are at writing, in almost every aspect of it. You implemented your personal experience in 9th grade into your argument incredibly, only helping justify your point in a carefully-woven manner rather than awkwardly stating a personal example only because of forced essay or agument structure. You talk of a somewhat controversial topic yet refrain from responding to society with aggresiveness like most others do, and instead prefer to speak with kindness. You spoke with such sophisticated diction, and yet, as some (including myself) struggle with, you managed to use it so precisely that your essay actually makes sense.

    You’re brilliant. Simply brilliant. Thank you for making my time worthwhile.

    -Austin, from 10th Grade English Honours in the International School of Panama.

    1. Dear Austin,

      Thank you for your kind words and incredibly thoughtful response. It is when individuals such as yourself comment, that I am able to acknowledge my writing for what it is truly worth. I am joyous that you appreciated reading my blog, and how you insightfully noticed my usage of specific words and rebuttal with kindness.



  5. Dear Sadia, I’m Maria Paula Marquez from the International School of Panama, and I’m in Mr Avelar’s English Honours class. I’m really impressed at your writing, it’s truly magnificent and expresses a lot of emotion. The way you structured your essay to transmit what it is you believe in at the same time as you share a personal experience was really effective. I think that it takes a good writer to be able to pull that off and you were able to pull it off completely. I really liked that you chose to speak about such a topic which is a major issue. At first I was interested at how you were going to be able to accurately write about such a broad topic, but I underestimated the importance of this issue, and it wasn’t until I read this great essay, that I changed my mind, and now believe its a major problem present in the world which should be combatted.

    1. Dear Maria,

      Thank you for your considerate words, I am incredibly ecstatic that you chose to read and respond to my blog post.

      I was interested when you mentioned how you were curious to see how I would approach such a general topic. Empathy in correlation to society is incredibly difficult to narrow (as one can lose themselves through mentioning varying details), and throughout writing this blog I somehow remained oblivious to this particular observation. I had a personal connection and my words just seemed to flow in a rush. Through your comment, I was able to establish a realization I had myself not yet noticed.

      Writing is made to change our perceptions, but never did I think my writing would accomplish such a thing. I am truly honoured that I have managed to alter your thoughts upon how society can suppress our empathy. This issue, to me, holds extreme relevance, as when one loses empathy, one disconnects themselves from potentially aiding individuals enduring relentless cruelty.

      Thank you once again.



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